When it comes to writing, whether it is a short story, a novel or even a poem, make sure you know what your writing. You cannot start writing without a crisp and clear image of your world, your characters and the direction you want your story to go in. If the image is fuzzy and quite unclear, then you need to go back and keep planning. I have this problem a lot and recently I started writing again after a short break, but when I actually began writing I realized I didn’t know my world or characters that well, resulting in crappy first pages. I didn’t know how my characters would react in certain situations, I didn’t know who hated who, and most of all I didn’t know how I wanted to proceed with my story. So I erased what I had and went back to planning. You never want to plan so much that you never get around to actually writing your story but planning is vital. Once I understood my characters a bit more (I am still getting to know them though) and kind of knew where I was going to take my story for now, I began writing again. Now I can see around every corner in my plot, and I know how I want to proceed. Knowing makes me more confident and efficient in my writing and I am extremely happy where I am with my writing right now. Remember, don’t over plan but plan enough that you, the writer, knows what is happening because if you don’t know, neither do your readers!